This blog has been silent for almost 2 month now, and I left it after my last post without any mention of when I would be back here. A lot has been happening but the two things that took up most of my time was settling our daughter in college and all the behind-the-scenes work for the first ever Indian Food Bloggers Meet at Bangalore. A week after I got back from the Meet, I broke my right wrist! Its out of the cast now, and the doctor tells me using the computer (within reason) is good physiothrapy for my wrist so here I am once again.
The daughter has now settled down to life at college, and the Meet which happened on the 1stand 2nd of August 2014, is long over! The memories are still fresh in my mind, and I knew I had to post about it before I got onto my usual food posts.
Four food bloggers living in three different Indian cities, thinking, planning, talking and organizing a Food Bloggers Meet without coming face to face in over the five months it took to get this event off the ground seems like an almost impossible task. Yet Arundati, Nandita, Revati and I managed to pull it off, and I’d like to think we did it quite well.
(Image courtesy : Aloft Hotels Cessna Business Park, Bangalore)
What we wanted to achieve with a Food Bloggers Meet of this kind was to provide a platform where food bloggers from across the country could meet each other, get a sense of being part of a community, have a good time over 2 days and also take back something in terms of knowledge relating to how to take one’s food blog beyond where it was.
What started as a dream, a small one at that, turned into something so big and of a size and shape that I had never imagined. The Meet was a two day affair of meeting fellow bloggers some of whom were old friends while others became new ones, sitting in on sessions that ranged from good food writing, food styling and photography, social media networking and SEO tips for food blogs, to talks on self-publishing cookbooks, wine appreciation and the transition from food blogs to business.
All this wouldn’t have happened without our resource persons who took the time from their schedules to share their knowledge with us. Deeba Rajpal, Rushina Ghildayal, Kalyan Karmalkar, Nandita Iyer, Aparna Jain, Ashish Verma, Aneesh Bhasin, Ruchira Ramanujam Ranjini Rao, Sanjeeta Kumar, and Harini Prakash – thank you for joining us.
There were many things to take away in terms of learning lessons from organizing something like this. No, I don’t mean all those goodie bags, a lot of which I had to leave behind because I didn’t think to take a suitcase big enough! The Meet proved that I had organizing skills I never knew I had, that I do have decent negotiating skills, that there are so many good, helpful and giving people out there and that dreams can come true if you work hard enough at it.
Most of all, there was the confirmation that the food blogging community in India (and those Indian bloggers who live outside India and joined us) is passionate about food, colourful and very alive. The biggest takeaway from the whole experience for me was the 50 happy and smiling faces at the end of the two day Meet. I don’t think anything else can equal that feeling for me.
(Image courtesy : Jayashree Mudaliar)
Before I go any further with this post, I must mention that Aloft Hotels at Cessna Park in Bangalore, who were our venue and FB partner for the Meet, were one of the best things that happened to us. Not only was the venue beautifully designed and well supported by infrastructure and friendly and approachable staff, we couldn’t have asked for a better and more supportive team than them.
They also very pleasantly surprised with the themed meals Chef Sameer and his team designed for us and served at lunch, morning and evening tea on both days. The only complaint we had for them was that we couldn’t do real good justice to all the food (but we sure tried) because we were stuffed!
This post will probably end up sounding like a “Thank You” speech and you will have to bear with me because I cannot but mention those who helped us make the Meet the success it was. My apologies if I have inadvertently left anyone out.
This Meet wouldn’t have happened without the IFBMeet team, the three girls who were with me through everything, especially all that went on behind the scenes.
We also had a whole lot of sponsors who joined us including Aloft Hotels as our venue and FB sponsor, Himalaya Sparkling Water who were our principal sponsors, Burrp! our online sponsor, HarperCollins Publishers India KitchenAid India, Cremica, MyPref, UrbanDazzle, Indian Food Network, Tupperware, Paper boat, Freedom Tree, Foodhall, Vegit, FoodT ribe, Cookie Man India, Bite Me Cupcakes, The Baking Company, SoulFull, Blue Tokai Coffee, PicGravy and Hip Cask Wines. They all ensured that all the participants at the Meet went home with bags which were bursting (I mean this literally and not just figuratively) with goodies.
(Image courtesy : Jayashree Mudaliar)
And last but not least, cheers and thanks to all the food bloggers who signed up for the Meet and joined us to make it a huge success. A very special thanks to Sanjeeta for all the work she put in behind the scenes.
With all the positive response we’ve had for this Meet and demands to continue this as an annual affair, you might just find the four of us putting our heads together again to plan another one. Please follow the Indian Food Blogger Meet on the blog and social media for further updates.
Please see the Indian Food Bloggers Meet on Facebook for more photographs. You can also take a look at what some of the food bloggers who attended the Meet had to say about their experience.
Inspiration from Indian Food Bloggers by Nandita Iyer.
Indian Food Bloggers Meet – What I Take Back With Me by Lata Raja.
IFBM – The First Indian Bloggers Meet by Harini Prakash.
Thoughts on Food Blogging Sparked Off by the IFBM 2014 by Kalyan Karmalkar.
Look I was at IFBM by Siri Pulipaka.
Finally, here are the links to some Press mentions about the Meet –
The Blog Is Not Enough in Mint Lounge.
The Food Connection in The Hindu.
From the Kitchen to Bookshelves in The Hindu.
Meeting Outside the Virtual Space in the New Indian Express.